Tableau and IBM Cognos are the two popular Business Intelligence (BI)  tools. These tools are used for analyzing, reporting, and helps to make decisions that help to improve the performance of the organization. As these tools come under Business Intelligence, but they target different users in the market. Also, there is a considerable difference between Tableau and IBM Cognos tools.

Tableau vs Cognos: Overview

What is Tableau

Tableau is a fast-growing data visualization tool used as a Business Intelligence tool. It helps in simplifying the data into an accessible and understandable format. It creates data in the form of worksheets and dashboards. Tableau can work with any kind of data, and it can be structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data. It can connect with a lot of other tools such as R Programming, Hadoop, etc. 

Tableau is a champion visualization tool with a very modern interface and natural drag-drop abilities. Many different users can use Tableau to create insights dashboards and reports

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Features of Tableau

The following are the features of the Tableau tool:

  • Real-time data analysis
  • Data blending
  • Creates informative-dashboard layouts, visual-objects, text, filters, etc.
  • Enables to collaborate and share the data from various data sources securely.
  • Quickly establish a secure connection to any data source such as Google Analytics, MemSQL, SQL Server, Dropbox, Presto, etc.
  • It provides advanced Data visualization using numerous charts such as Gantt chart, Histogram, Motion chart, bubble chart, and many more.
  • It creates the trend lines and forecasting the data to produce data predictions and analysis quickly using drag and drop interface.
  • It uses robust security methods to take special care of data and user security. 
  • It creates informative maps that allow the users to add different layers of geology on the maps.  
  • Tableau creates customized mobile layouts for the dashboards to your mobile that provides more flexibility and easy to handle the data on a mobile view.
  • It provides the most relevant answers to your data queries.
  • Tooltip editing in the browser

What is IBM Cognos

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IBM Cognos is another Business Intelligence (BI) tool is the web-based analytic and reporting tool. IBM Cognos Analytics software is an online-based BI platform that offers a complete array of BI software to address company goals. It helps the user to create user-friendly detailed reports and to execute data aggregation. It also an option to export the report in XML or PDF format. It allows you to view the reports in XML format.

Cognos tool combines multiple products that enable communication with different third parties. For example, SAPs relational databases etc. IBM Cognos provides features that work for individuals, departments, and workgroups in all mid-sized organizations to more substantial enterprises. 

Features of IBM Cognos

The features of IBM Cognos are as follows:
  • IBM Cognos provides alerts, notification, and real-time events.
  • It allows the user to edit existing data.
  • It is an independent platform, reliable and scalable.
  • It offers the most secure data, and the firewall guards the data.
  • Cognos allows features such as real-time monitoring, predictive analytics, and scenario modeling.
  • It supports big data platforms, including Amazon Web Services, Hortonworks, and Cloudera.
  • The most potent presentation of data using interactive charts and maps is awe-inspiring.
  • It improves the performance on most modules.
  • Use of dynamic cubes Hardware sizing to provide information like the number of users, attributes, and members.
  • It provides more flexible importing and reporting the data and can manage the data sets.

Tableau Vs IBM Cognos: Difference


Tableau  IBM Cognos
Tableau provides the best feature that helps to visualise massive data sets and import and allows users to make queries. IBM Cognos explores data relations by transforming data into metadata quickly.
This tool is very easy to use for many users, although there are not data experts, can use the tool efficiently.  This tool is for data experts and visualisations are not that simple to understand for an average user.
It allows the users to connect with any kind of data sources and also allows the user to retrieve data from the data sources. It also allows users to connect with various data sources.
It can perform ad-hoc analysis on data using Live connection or In-memory connections. These connections depend on the local database and also retrieve the data quickly.  It can capture and combine results from several databases. It also generates reports for the database.
Tableau provides integration with R and Google Analytics.  It is well integrated and connected with IBM products.
It supports on both Windows and Mac OS and also supports web-based versions. It supports Microsoft Windows (64-bit Operating system), Linux, and Mobile OS. It is also a web-based tool.
Tableau software targets the users from Small, Medium, and Large enterprises. IBM Cognos targets the users from Small, Medium, and Large enterprises.
It provides various features such as Graphic benchmark tools, Tools, Highlight and filter data, Customizable Dashboards and many more. It provides features such as scheduling and alerts, intuitive interface, Smart search works, a Personalized experience available for both offline and online.
Tableau offers One-time payments and Annual Subscriptions on quote based payments. Cognos provides payment options on Quote based payments.
It provides a free trial version for a month usage to get used to the tool.0 It does not provide a free trial of its software.


Tableau vs Cognos: Advantages

Advantages of Tableau

The advantages of using Tableau are as follows:

  • First and foremost advantage is data visualization to create data blending and dashboarding to provide insights to the users.
  • Drag and drop interface of the tableau makes it easy for the users to create an interactive visualization.
  • Easy to use for every user, even a non-technical user can develop dashboards.
  • It can handle the massive amount of data without affecting the performance of the dashboards.
  • It allows the user to use other scripting languages.
  • It has an excellent reporting feature that enables the user to create a customized dashboard for mobile phones or laptops.

Advantages of Cognos

The advantages of using IBM Cognos are as follows:
  • Cognos provides several BI capabilities like analysis, reporting and query, and score carding using a single architecture.
  • It helps to analyze data facts and anticipate tactically and implements strategies. 
  • It allows users to collaborate to develop decision networks to share insights and drive towards collective intelligence.
  • It supports to modify and share the IBM Cognos content with the use of interfaces and applications.
  • It improves productivity through proactive real-time notifications and workflows.
  • It allows the users to link analytics to business workflow solutions and processes.
  • It supports the popular RDBMS to handle data related to reporting and content management.
  • It enables the users to publish the files to the secure BI portal.

Frequently asked Tableau Interview Questions

Tableau Vs Cognos: Disadvantages

Disadvantages of Tableau

The following are the disadvantages of Tableau:

  • Tableau does not provide the feature of automatic refreshing of the reports with the help of scheduling as there is no option of schedule.
  • It requires manual efforts for creating multiple fields as Tableau provides a limited number of columns table to display. 
  • It does not support to retrieve the data from the server when dashboards and reports are published on the server.
  • It is required to have SQL knowledge to create rich and complex datasets from multiple data sources.
  • It is an expensive product to scale across a large organisation.
 Disadvantages IBM Cognos
The disadvantages of using IBM Cognos are as follows:
  • IBM Cognos does not support Multi-dimensional analysis.
  • It does not support Mac OS.
  • It does not accept departmental deployments.
  • It is hard to learn and not easy to use and implement for non-technical users.
  • It does not provide any free trial for the software.


Tableau and IBM Cognos are the two most popular BI tools as performance best with its features. To pick one of these tools, it only depends on the organization's requirements and also a bit of research to adopt these tools. 

In this article, we have gone through the brief introduction of the two tools, the Difference between Tableau and IBM Cognos, and eagle view of the features that these tools were offering to the users.